Create a Sun Ray Effect in GIMP


This tutorial demonstrates a straightforward yet effective technique, ideal for those new to GIMP. The focus is on creating a “Sun Ray” effect, a popular style in modern web design.

For this tutorial, GIMP 2.4 is used, and it’s recommended to download this version for consistency.

Step 1

Create a new 400×400 image. In the advanced settings of the new image dialog, choose ‘Transparent fill’.

Step 2

Activate the GRID by navigating to View > Show Grid or use the shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+T. Also, enable ‘Snap to Grid’ by selecting View > Snap to Grid.

Step 3

Use the path tool to draw the first ray, aligning with the grid points as shown. Draw the path in ‘design’ mode and switch to ‘edit’ mode or hold CTRL to close it.

After drawing your path, in the path dialog, choose ‘Selection from Path’.

Step 4

Create a new layer and name it ‘1’.

Step 5

Set the foreground color to white. Select the ‘Blend tool’ or press ‘L’. In the Gradient dialog, choose ‘FG to Transparent’.

Step 6

Apply the gradient from the bottom to the top, as illustrated below.

Step 7

Deselect the Ray by choosing Select > None or using the shortcut Shift+CTRL+A.

Step 8

Center the ray on the grid as shown in the image.

The next step involves duplicating the layer repeatedly to form a complete circle.

Step 9

Duplicate the Ray and rename the new layer as ‘5’.

Step 10

Use the Rotate tool or Shift+R to rotate the ray. You can manually adjust the position or set the rotation angle to 83 and center coordinates X and Y to 192.

Step 11

Repeat the technique to create 13 more rays, spacing them equally using the grid. Ensure the center point is adjusted to 192.

This example showcases how sun ray effects can enhance designs like headers, wallpapers, backgrounds, etc. Here, a simple two-tone light gradient named ‘Web 2.0 Wax Dark’ from the 30 ultimate web 2.0 pack is used. The overall ray opacity is reduced to 50%, and a pre-made speech bubble is added in the center.

A final note: for assistance with this tutorial, please utilize the help forum section, as many users find this more helpful than tutorial comments.

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